Low-key but refreshing girls 'n' the `hood debut novel about a pair of furiously competitive basketball stars searching for love and certainty in the dank gymnasiums and mean streets of South Central L.A. The familiar inner-city downers of racism, crime, family disintegration, and sports-as-salvation are handled with extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity in this episodic story. Teenager Nancy Takahiro, a shy, six-foot Japanese-American basketball player, lives in a small suburban tract house with her divorced father, Wendell, a high-school math teacher and football coach. When Wendell invites his girlfriend, divorcÇe Claudia Webber, a circulation manager for the L.A. Times, to move in with him, Claudia, an African-American, brings her daughter, Raina Webber, a ferociously aggressive basketball star who plays at a different high school that's in a different league. The two girls are not only the same age but also ``members of the family''—that is, lesbian. As their parents endure racial stigmatism from former friends, what could have been a simple sibling rivalry becomes something far more complicated as Nancy becomes emotionally—and sexually—infatuated with Raina, who, though five inches shorter than Nancy, has the gutsy, American street-smart confidence that Nancy feels she lacks. Author Revoyr dodges the easy clichÇs of ghetto melodrama—nobody gets pregnant or has a drug problem here; everybody has enough to eat; and violence and crime, while evident, happen elsewhere—as she sends Nancy and Raina toward an ultimate confrontation in a league playoff, where Nancy's turbulent uncertainties about herself, as well as her unrequited affection for Raina, make the outcome of the game more than a matter of winning or losing. A quietly intimate, vigorously honest, and uniquely American hoop dream: tough and tender, without a single false note.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-83234-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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